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The Rebellions^ A.H. n (632).óBefore his illness the
Prophet had given orders for an expedition to avenge the
disaster of Muta ; but Osama, its commander, on hearing
of the calamity which had befallen Islam, brought back the
banner entrusted to him. Abu Bekr showed his fearless-
ness by immediately insisting that this expedition should
be carried through, although it left the city almost defence-
less, and his decision was justified by the result. Yet the
courage it showed was extraordinary; for insurrections
broke out all over Arabia, and only Medina, Mecca, and
Tayif stood firm for Islam. Medina itself was besieged,
or rather blockaded, by neighbouring tribes, but Abu Bekr
called out every man capable of bearing arms, attacked the
Beduins, and drove them off with slaughter. As Muir
points out, defeat at this juncture might well have in-
volved the disappearance of Islam, and to Abu Bekr must
be given all credit for the victory,' After two months of
serious danger the return of Osama as a victor enabled
the Caliph, whose prestige must have been enormously
enhanced, to crush the insurrections.
With supreme confidence Abu Bekr summoned the
leaders of Islam, and, dividing Arabia into eleven districts,
despatched a column to each. The most important
command was given to Khalid, whose first act was to
march north to attack the Beni Tayy and Beni Asad, who
had espoused the cause of Toleiha, a rival prophet The
Beni Tayy were won over by diplomacy, while the Beni
Asad deserted their Prophet in the battle and then
In a second campaign the Beni Temim were massacred
by Khalid. But his hardest fight was with Moseilama, a
rival Prophet, who was supported by the Beni Hanifa of
Yemama, at the back of Al-Katif, a tribe which numbered
40,000 fighting men. The struggle was desperate, and
in the first charge the Moslems were beaten back to
their camp. But they rallied and broke the Beni Hanifa,
who took refuge in a walled garden. The Moslem heroes
leapt down among Miem, and the <c Garden of Death,"
as it was termed from the slaughter, was never forgotten.
In the slaughter, which was terrible on both sides, the